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Addiction in Franklin County

Nar-Anon Family Group to launch locally soon

GREENFIELD — As heroin and pill abuse has risen locally, court officials describe a steady flow of parents petitioning for the committal of grown children to state rehab programs and grandparents obliged to take responsibility for the children of their addicted sons and daughters.

There has been little support for families, but one of the traditional support groups, Nar-Anon, is scheduled to begin locally next week.

Parents interviewed over the past two years describe strain on their marriages, feelings of guilt and fear for their children.

At a meeting of a Nar-Anon Family Group in Brattleboro last year, a small group of parents shared their experiences of raising drug-addicted sons and daughters, and the constant struggle to find the right path between helping a grown child and protecting themselves. Will the tough-love approach push them further into addiction? Are they helping them get clean or stay clean, or only enabling their addiction?

Nar-Anon Family Groups do not answer these questions or the others facing the families of addicts, but aim to provide mutual support and an avenue for family members to find their own answers.

Not to be confused with Narcotics Anonymous, Nar-Anon is essentially the same 12-step program used for decades by recovering alcoholics, drug addicts and those contending with other addictions, but geared toward the parents, spouses, siblings and other family of recovering or active addicts.

“Here in Franklin County right now we have a terrible problem with heroin, and families are really confused and they don’t know what to do, and what happens with that anxiety is a family member could tend to enable an addict without realizing it,” said Greenfield resident Christine Ardito, who is founding a Nar-Anon group to begin meeting next week.

NA meetings are scarce in Franklin County, but Nar-Anon meetings are absent. Some from Franklin County travel to the Brattleboro or Northampton meetings. Ardito is among the Northampton participants, still coping with the difficulty of growing up with an addicted brother and an early marriage to a man with the same problem.

The first meeting of the new group is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church, 25 Church St., on Thursday.

Ardito said Nar-Anon is a spiritually based program, but a community- based program as well, and works best in numbers.

Anyone with questions may contact Ardito by email at cardito809@gmail.com, or visit the Nar-Anon website at www.nar-anon.org.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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